30/01/2013 - 03:46

Effective leadership will motivate staff

30/01/2013 - 03:46


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Clear communication and an ability to share the values of your business with staff are among seven strategies to keep your best performers.

Effective leadership will motivate staff
FEELGOOD FACTOR: Guest speakers can offer inspiration to your staff and encourage a culture of achievement. Photo: iStockphoto

Clear communication and an ability to share the values of your business with staff are among seven strategies to keep your best performers.

STAFF retention is a challenge that all businesses will face at some stage in their journey. For some businesses it will have only a minor effect, for others it can be crippling.

When a staff member resigns the costs will include the administrative time and money involved in paperwork and advertising the position, and interviewing candidates or calling a recruitment agency to do the work for you (which involves a cut of the salary package of the person they place for you).

You will also most likely have to either employ someone in a temporary capacity to fill the role while you employ a replacement, or take the load and give it to another employee. Furthermore, you’ve still got to employ the new person to fill the role, with the associated costs in time and money for the induction and getting them up to speed,

So, what can a business owner do to improve employee loyalty and have them contribute more on a daily basis? In 15 years of working in various sized organisations and businesses, I have noticed a consistency in those that keep their staff for longer - they have developed a wonderful culture that inspires performance.

Of course there are circumstances over which you will have no control - when an employee will inevitably leave, including for: health reasons, relocation, change of career; and seeking opportunities that do not exist within your business or organisation.

Below are seven strategies that are implemented by businesses/organisations with excellent employee retention. How many have your business/organisation implemented, and more importantly, how many strategies do you carry out consistently?


Develop a culture in your organisation that recognises staff and their contribution.

Does your business or organisation truly recognise the contribution of your staff? How does it do so? How often does it recognise them? As human beings we have the need to feel accepted by the groups of which we belong (e.g. our workplace). If your staff members feel valued they feel a stronger bond and will stay with their employer longer than those who do not.

To take this to the next level, did you know that your staff need to be acknowledged in different ways? Some staff in your organisation don’t like public acknowledgement, in fact it will embarrass them. These staff will respond very positively however, to a one-on-one chat with their manager to acknowledge the great job they are doing. Other staff relish being acknowledge in front of their peers, in fact the bigger the better!


Develop a clear vision for your business/ organisation/team.

Develop your vision and live by that day by day - it gives your staff purpose each day, make them clear on why they are there and how important they are, not how important the job is.

I was reading a book by Steven Covey recently in which he described a hotel he stayed at during a business trip. He was so impressed by the level of service they provided he approached the hotel manager and enquired about what system they had in place to deliver such a high level of service. He discovered that each department of the hotel had its own vision and mission statement. The staff in each department developed the statement so they had ownership of it and they lived by it day by day. It doesn’t matter how large or small your organisation, business, or team is, it is imperative that you have a vision of what purpose you have for doing what you do. The vision doesn’t have to be one of changing the world; it could be for example a simple vision of providing the best customer service possible in a cafe, the largest range of coffee varieties available, or some other ‘wow’ factor for your customers.

Furthermore, if you’re in an organisation, does your team or department have a vision that fits in with the overall vision? How does your department add value or wow its customers (other staff/departments)?


Communicate with your staff, determine their needs and what resources they require to do their role responsibilities well.

Open communication with your staff will ensure that they will tell you when they need something, or when you need something from them. Have regular meetings with them to see what challenges they are facing and how you can help. This will assist in establishing a trust level with your staff where you can have a frank and open discussion with them when needed, but this also is reliant on their manager doing so in a positive and productive manner.

So how can you do this even more than you are now? As human beings we have preferred language patterns of communicating - visual, auditory, or kinaesthetically. What this means is the words they use will be of a visual pattern, an auditory pattern or kinaesthetic pattern. For example you might have an employee who uses visual words, ‘I see how that is important right now’, or ‘Can you show me how that will work?’

An employee with a preferred pattern of auditory language will say things like, ‘that sounds like a great idea’, or ‘can we have a chat later to discuss this further?’

An employee with a kinaesthetic preference will use language such as ‘that doesn’t feel like the right way at the moment’, or ‘my gut tells me we should approach this from a different direction’.


Acknowledge and understand that all staff will have different behavioural types.

By understanding their behavioural style in the workplace, you will have a greater understanding of what motivates them, how to communicate with them so they feel valued, and how they respond to pressure.

Some people are big picture focused, others are detail focused etc.


Coach your staff so they can grow in their current role and have a path to move into future roles.

We have a need as human beings to grow and learn, allow that need to flourish in your staff. What processes does your organisation/business have for coaching its staff in order for them to grow in their role? Does it offer training to develop its staff? Does your business/ organisation have skilled managers that can coach their staff? If not, perhaps consider getting some coaching for them in order to learn how they can coach their own staff.

I have seen businesses and organisations that have brought in guest speakers from time to time for inspiration, or to teach the staff more about health, fitness or some other area of interest. Ultimately if your staff are healthy and happy outside of work, they will be happier at work and with be more productive.


Share the values of your business with your staff and employee people who share these values.

Make the values of your business/organisation obvious to your staff. After all, your staff are the ones who are doing to do, they are the ones at the front of your business, dealing with customers and other staff. They need to know what the business/organisation stands for (value wise).

The dilemma is when you have staff who either don’t share the same values, or simply don’t care. These staff simply won’t stay and that’s just a reality we need to be aware of. From a retention perspective, I think it’s fair to say that you will want to hold onto the high-quality staff longer, as these wonderful people will be the future leaders of your business/organisation.

Speak with your human resources department and determine if values are raised during the recruitment process. Are potential staff asked what their values are? Do they know what the values of the business/ organisation are?

You will get a great deal more engagement out of staff that have a values match with those of your business/organisation. For example -and as a generalisation - you will find staff of a charity will be more likely to stay longer in their employment because they share the same values of the charity.

The values resonate to the core of the staff so deep that they almost see the charity as a family, or a group of very close friends because as human beings we bond with those of us in a tribe/group with a unified purpose.


Get to know your staff.

Get to know your staff well, get to know their strengths and interests and see what projects etc. they could also be involved in. Good managers know their staff and how they can utilise their talents and skills fully.

For example, you may have a staff member who enjoys event management and could organise the next office sundowner, or they could form a committee to create a plan for the organisation to be more environmentally friendly/carbon neutral etc.

By doing the extra things to engage your staff within the business, your relationship with them will grow stronger. They will feel that you trust them more, and they will want to repay that trust by giving back in enthusiasm and productivity.

• Greg Boase is a ‘mindset mentor ’ at corporate coaching group Stepping Toward Success, www.steppingtowardsuccess.com.au, 0405 298 232.


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